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Council supports water play facility

An ‘educational and sustainable’ water play park will now feature in detailed designs for the multi-million dollar Carrington Park playground upgrade.

The water play facility also commits council to budgeting for its operation and maintenance once installed.

After debating concerns about the ongoing costs, Carterton District councillors on Wednesday backed the ongoing spending.

It is another milestone in the Carrington Park project, which has been facilitated over the past three years by Ka Pai Carterton and co-designed with community, Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae, and other stakeholders.

Water has always been part of this project, said Lucy McKenzie, a Ka Pai Carterton community facilitator who fronted the proposal.

She acknowledged that in the past council had been “a little concerned about the perception of water being used in a playful manner”.

The facility, designed by engineers WSP, reflects the importance of educating our tamariki about the use of water, McKenzie said.

It will also incorporate the story gifted to the project by matua Ra Smith of a comet bouncing along the river “and as it did, the galaxy was imprinted on the backs of the kokopu [native fish]”.

At the Carterton District Council meeting on Wednesday, some councillors expressed concern about the operational costs of the facility, which will run for four months of the year, December through to March, and require twice daily water testing and daily maintenance.

Glenda Seville, community services and facilities manager for Carterton District Council, told councillors the indicative figures of between $50,000 and $70,000 were ‘very conservative’ and more would be known following the detailed design stage of the project.

Councillor Dale Williams described the future operational costs as business as usual for council, and that the benefits of the facility outweighed the commitment.

“As a parent I know how attractive these places are. I just see this as a massive benefit to Carterton.”

Councillor Brian Deller also spoke in support of including the facility in the detailed designs.

“It is in the nice-to-have basket. But we have to have some of these nice-to-haves,” he said.

Hurunui-o-Rangi Marae’s representative on council, Marama Fox, congratulated Ka Pai Carterton on their engagement with the community.

The project is an “authentic and genuine expression of working together,” she said.

WSP will now work up the detailed design, including the water play park.

Engagement with key stakeholders, including Friends of Carrington Park, the council, residents neighbouring the park and existing users of the park, will continue.

Voting in favour were: Dale Williams, Grace Ayling, Brian Deller, Steve Gallon, Steve Laurence, Lou Newman and Mayor Ron Mark.

Councillor Robyn Cherry-Campbell was absent.

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